Adding a skylight to any room of your home can bring many benefits. They are aesthetically pleasing and can increase day lighting as well as passive heat. A skylight can help make a room look larger by increasing the amount of natural light in the room. There are several types of skylights you can have installed. The type, size, and cost depend on your roof, ceiling, and lighting and ventilation needs. Skylights may be fixed or open to allow for better ventilation in the room. These may be manually operated - electric or solar-operated - all of which have their own costs that may contribute to your final project costs.
The average skylight installation costs between $1,300 and $3,000, with the average customer paying $2,000 for a medium-sized manual ventilated skylight with a vinyl frame. At the lowest cost, expect to pay around $650 for a small tubular skylight. At the highest cost, you can install a large solar-operated ventilated skylight with a wood frame for $3,500.
|Cost to Add Skylight|
|National average cost||$2,000|
At its simplest, a skylight is a window that is installed in your roof. Skylights are installed between the studs in your roof and can allow natural light to enter at a better angle than windows. This allows for extra light and the possibility of added passive heating.
Skylights can be fixed, meaning that they are a simple glass window that does not open. They can also be ventilated, meaning they open to allow fresh air to enter. Ventilated skylights may operate by manual control, electric control, or solar operation. They may have blinds installed to keep out extra heat, or they can be fully open to the sun. Depending on the angle they are installed at, they can be used to capture extra light or heat to help your home reduce energy costs.
Like windows, you can find different skylights, each with varying attributes that make one or another a better fit for your home. There are three main categories: tubular, fixed, and ventilated. Tubular skylights can be a good fit for those with truss 1 roofs who cannot fit a larger skylight but who want to bring in additional natural light. Fixed skylights can also be a good way of bringing in extra light and passive heat at a lower cost because they are not designed to open. Ventilated skylights are designed to open and let in fresh air. They can operate in three ways. Therefore, they have some of the biggest cost ranges between the three basic types. Like windows, skylights can also come with different glass types and frame materials, but it is the type you choose that drives most of the total costs.
|Type||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Tubular||$200 - $500|
|Fixed||$200 - $1,200|
|Ventilated||$400 - $2,000|
Tubular skylights cost between $200 and $500. These are not skylights in the traditional sense, but they bring extra sunlight into the home. From the inside of the home, tubular skylights look just like brighter versions of ordinary lights. They get their light from tubes that are installed on the roof. These tubes direct light into the house via reflective piping.
Tubular skylights are inexpensive because they require fewer materials and less labor. The simplest tubular lights can be installed in two hours. However, they do not provide a view of the sky, which is the primary draw of a skylight. They also do not work well for large spaces that require a lot of light. They are small, and unlike ordinary electric lights, they do not provide light after sundown. But they make a good choice for closets, bathrooms, and utility areas that do not get much use at night. By using sunlight instead of electricity for these spaces, homeowners save money on their electric bills.
Fixed skylights average $200 to $1,200. They are the simplest type and provide extra light to a room. They do not open or close in any way. Being a simple choice, they are good for first-time skylight buyers, and they are relatively inexpensive. Consider your home’s location before you buy a fixed skylight. Because they have no ventilation options, they can trap heat inside your home. This is not bad during the winter months, but if you live in an area that gets hot during the summer, you may want to consider a ventilated skylight instead.
Ventilated skylights range from $400 to $2,000. They provide ventilation, allowing you to release any heat trapped underneath your skylight. A vented skylight can also let spring breezes into the house when the weather permits.
Vented skylights come in a few choices. Manual vented skylights open and close just like a regular window, which is why they are sometimes called tilt window skylights. Electric skylights operate via remote control or a keypad that is installed on your wall. They are wired into your home’s electrical system. Solar-operated skylights also operate via remote control or keypad but are powered by solar energy, which can make them less expensive to run. Vented skylights are more expensive than fixed skylights, and each type may work best in different areas. For example, a tilt window skylight works best on lower ceilings that allow you to reach the vent. Electric skylights work at any height, but they require wiring installation. Solar-powered skylights can also operate at any height but cost the most upfront.
Skylights are available in many sizes. The size you choose is dictated in part by your roof and your desires. If you have a “stick” roof, a roof composed of rafters, you will have the most options for skylight size. This is because the rafters can either be spaced far enough apart to accommodate larger skylights or in some cases, you can cut them to make room. A truss roof, however, cannot be cut. Many truss roofs only have about 25” between the studs, so you will need to make sure that your skylight is 25” in width or smaller if you want to install one here. For this reason, you will find many skylights with a width of 25”, which allow them to be installed in a truss roof. For stick roofs, you can go larger, with many skylights having a width of up to 33” or even 49” for some speciality skylights. For each width, you can have a range of different heights. Size can be a driving force behind the total cost of your project, with larger and wider skylights costing more than smaller. Keep in mind that some square skylights are fixed only. This can keep costs down but limits choices.
|Size||Average Cost Range (Material Only)|
|25” x 25”||$150 - $500|
|25” x 33”||$150 - $600|
|25” x 41”||$300 - $600|
|33” x 33”||$300 - $800|
|25” x 57”||$300 - $800|
|33” x 49”||$300 - $1,000|
|49” x 49”||$500 - $1,900|
|33” x 57”||$500 - $2,000|
Like windows, skylights come in several frame materials. These include vinyl, wood, metal, and a mixture of materials. Each material has a different price point and maintenance needs, which may make one a better fit for your home. Vinyl is generally the least expensive and has some of the lowest maintenance, while wood is the most costly with the highest maintenance. You will also need to take into account things like how well the material insulates, how long it lasts, and whether it has issues with warping because this can lead to leaks over time. The framing material does impact overall costs, with each having a range based on ventilation and size.
|Framing Material||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Vinyl||$150 - $1,000|
|Metal||$200 - $1,500|
|Wood||$300 - $2,500|
The cost of a vinyl 2 skylight ranges from $150 to $1,000. Vinyl is a common choice because it seals moisture well and lasts a long time. This is also the least expensive material, which can be a consideration when choosing a larger or ventilated skylight. They are easy to produce and locate, being the same material that many window makers use for their products. Vinyl can crack in cold climates and warp in hot climates, and it is difficult to paint if it becomes discolored. They work best in moderate climates.
The cost of a metal-framed skylight averages $200 to $1,500. Metal works for those who want a contemporary look, but metal also heats quickly, adding a level of discomfort to homes with hot summers. Metal skylights can come with a wood look, or they can be vinyl-wrapped for a cooler exterior. They are lower in maintenance than wood and last longer than vinyl. They are a good option to mix longevity and style. Metal options can include both aluminum and steel, although the metal type may not always be specified.
The cost of a wood-framed skylight is $300 to $2,500. Wood is a natural insulator and resists thermal transfer better than vinyl or metal. This can make it a good material for helping to insulate your skylight. It also has a natural beauty and grain that is difficult to reproduce. Wood skylights have higher maintenance and tend to cost more. The wood needs to be painted or stained regularly, and it should be checked for moisture problems and rot regularly to help prevent issues. A good rule of thumb is to have your skylight checked when you have your roof inspected.
Skylights come in two general installation styles - curb- mounted and deck-mounted. Curb-mounted skylights are mounted 3 on top of a frame, while deck-mounted skylights are installed flush with your roof. Some people prefer the curb appeal of deck-mounted skylights because curb-mounted skylights are more noticeable from the street. They have similar costs for materials, although a deck-mounted skylight takes longer and costs more to install. This is because curb-mounted skylights are made in a factory. They are ready to install and simply need to be screwed down into the opening that is made in your roof. Deck-mounted skylights are made and fitted onsite. This means that they take longer to install and increase your total costs, even if the cost of the skylight is identical.
|Style||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Curb Mount||$150 - $1,500|
|Deck Mount||$150 - $2,500|
The cost of a curb-mounted skylight is $150 to $1,500. They sit above the roofline 4. This makes them more visible from the street but provides more space inside, which can be a desired look for some interiors. Curb-mounted skylights are easier to install and go up faster in new and replacement installations than deck-mounted. They arrive ready to install and take little-to-no interior work, particularly on vaulted 5 ceilings. This can make them a more affordable option.
The cost of a deck-mounted skylight averages $150 to $2,500. They are flush with your roof, rather than sitting above it. This means that it needs to be framed inside your roof, and it is less visible from the street. It also means it has less of a visible frame inside, with a little less space. This installation takes longer and is more costly for new and replacement installations. Because it is made to fit your roof, you have more options with this type. This can enable you to get different sizes or shapes to fit a unique roof.
While most skylights are either rectangular or square, they can come in other shapes. While you can have a skylight custom-made in nearly any shape, there are several readymade shapes available in addition to the common rectangle. These include not only squares, but also pyramids, oval, and circular skylights. While size plays the biggest role in cost, shape can impact costs as well. Oval and circular skylights can be more difficult to install and more costly to purchase. This can make them more expensive overall than a square or rectangular skylight of the same size. Keep in mind that rectangular skylights are the most common when it comes to ventilated options. Other shapes are most commonly fixed. Each shape has a range of costs, depending on the mounting style, frame material, and screen.
|Shape||Average Cost Range (Materials Only)|
|Square||$150 - $2,000|
|Rectangular||$150 - $2,000|
|Circular||$400 - $1,000|
|Triangular/Pyramid||$500 - $3,000|
|Oval||$600 - $2,500|
|Custom||$1,500 - $5,000|
The cost of a square skylight is $150 to $2,000. They are less common than rectangles but are still available in a few sizes. The most common is the 25” x 25”, which can fit in most truss roofs. This is a good option for small rooms where you just want to have additional light. There are larger square skylights available, which can work well in flat roofs or in some stick or rafter roofs as well. The square limits your overall size options compared to rectangular skylights.
The cost of a rectangular skylight ranges from $150 to $2,000. They are one of the most common styles, especially for larger rooms and homes. They can have many different configurations, such as longer and thinner or shorter and squatter. They also come in several sizes, materials, and installation styles. Rectangular skylights are not only the most common, they have the most options for ventilation. Because of the way they are shaped, they are easier to open. This means you can have them in not only fixed but also all types of ventilated forms. This gives you the most options for your home.
Circular skylights cost $400 to $1,000. While many tubular skylights have a circular appearance, you can also find true skylights that are circular in shape. Circular skylights come in a few types. They may have a dome or bubble over them, visible from the exterior. They may also be perfectly flat on both the inside and outside. They tend to be smaller in size, meaning they fit perfectly into truss roofs.
The cost of a pyramid or triangle skylight averages $500 to $3,000. Triangular or pyramid skylights are raised skylights that form a pyramid on your roof. They have square or rectangular bases, leading up to the point on top. They can be made up of multiple panes of glass or plastic to let light in and make an architectural statement. They can also be made of just four panes of glazing with a square base. These are made to be seen, so it is common to feature them on flat roofs rather than pitched roofs.
The cost of an oval skylight is $600 to $2,500. They are similar to circular skylights in some ways. They may be flat or have a bubble on top of them. However, ovals also come in more decorative styles than circular or traditional rectangular skylights. They can be made of multiple panes of glass like a pyramid, forming a rounded shape rather than coming to a point. This can make them a statement both from the interior looking up and from the outside. They are more common on flat roofs than traditional pitched roofs.
The cost of a custom skylight ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 before installation. Custom skylights tend to be rare in most residential settings. Because most homes have a truss roof, this limits the skylight size and shape. Therefore, custom skylights are most often found in commercial buildings and in some mansions that are designed to hold them from the beginning. This means building the roof around a planned skylight rather than trying to add one later. In rare instances, if you have an unusual roof that cannot hold a standard size, you may be able to have a small custom skylight designed to fit its parameters. Custom skylights can be made with stained glass, etched glass, and in different patterns to give you a wide range of styles.
The main skylight glazing can be made of different materials, mainly glass or plastic. The glazing type can be impacted by the skylight you choose. If you choose a domed skylight, then the glazing will be made of acrylic plastic. However, most flat, fixed, and ventilated skylights use glass. This includes both a standard, tempered glass, and double-pane glazing, which can offer better insulation. Costs vary by glazing, size, ventilation, and shape. Domed acrylic skylights tend to be the least expensive because they are smaller in size and are always fixed. Tempered and double-pane skylights can be larger and come in both fixed and ventilated forms. For this reason, they have larger cost ranges than acrylic.
The costs below are for the most common skylight sizes with each glazing material, without installation.
|Glazing Type||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Acrylic Plastic||$150 - $1,000|
|Tempered Glass||$200 - $1,500|
|Double-Pane Glass||$300 - $3,500|
The cost of acrylic plastic skylights is $150 to $1,000. Acrylic plastic or plexiglass is a highly durable material that makes a great pane for skylights. It is frequently used to make dome and pyramid skylights and can also be made in flat panels. It is shatter and crack-resistant and filters out UV light. This material scratches and discolors over time. For this reason, it is not as common for flat skylights as it is for domed and pyramid shapes.
The cost of a skylight with tempered glass ranges from $200 to $1,500. Tempered glass is a good, durable option for skylights for those who want true glass clarity. Tempered glass is stronger and less likely to shatter if cracked. This can make tempered glass a good option for homes that are located in areas that see a lot of hail activity or high winds. Tempered glass is strong but not always the most energy efficient. Many people may choose to pair a tempered glass skylight with built-in blinds or shades to help increase efficiency.
The cost of a skylight with double-pane glass averages $300 to $3,500. You want double-pane glass if you want to improve your skylight’s energy efficiency. Having two panes of glass allows air to be trapped between them, which helps stop thermal transfer. This makes double-pane skylights a good option for anyone who wants to save on energy bills while having a skylight. Double-pane skylights can help energy costs in two ways. They do not tend to let as much heat in during the summer, and they help prevent heat from escaping during the winter. This makes them a good choice for homes in both warm and cold climates.
There are not many skylight brand options because a few major brands dominate the market. Each brand has its characteristics and materials to consider as well as price ranges. Due to the small market of manufacturers, you may find that if you are looking for a very specific type of skylight, one brand in particular may fit your needs the best. However, all three of the following brands make quality products that have a range of options to choose from and are readily available in most areas.
|Brand||Average Cost Range (Materials Only)|
|Sun-Tek||$125 - $1,000|
|Velux||$350 - $2,000|
|Fakro||$500 - $3,000|
The cost of a Sun-Tek skylight averages $125 to $1,000. Sun-Tek is a good choice for very basic, no-frills skylights. They have a range of sizes and glass options, including some domed skylights. They are readily available and easy to install. You can find them in sizes and materials that match many homes. Most Sun-Tek skylights are fixed, with some ventilated options available.
The cost of Velux skylights ranges from $350 to $2,000. The most common brand for glass skylights is Velux, often the go-to source for skylight needs. Velux is the top-rated brand with a reputation for quality products. They have a wide range of options, including tubes, acrylic options, wood options, and curb-mount and deck-mount styles. Velux has a wide range for their ventilated options. This includes manual, electric, and a full range of solar-powered skylights.
The cost of a Fakro skylight is $500 to $3,000. Fakro is the other major skylight brand that you see many options from. While it does not dominate as much of the market as Velux does, Fakro makes sturdy, reliable, quality products. They have many styles, including several glass types and styles for both curb-mount and deck-mount skylights. They have a full range of both fixed and ventilated skylights to choose from. This includes both manual and electric models.
The skylight installation process has an exterior phase and an interior phase. During the exterior phase, the installer measures and cuts a hole in the roof. Then, the installer fits the skylight into the hole and installs any added exterior components, such as flashing 6. During the interior phase, the installer fits the skylight’s interior pieces into place. The amount of time the installer needs for this process depends on the project’s complexity, the roof shape and slope, the roofing tiles you have, and your ceiling. A project with an average roof slope, small skylight, and no complications can take 4 hours from start to finish for installation on a vaulted ceiling. However, if you have a flat ceiling, expect the time to double for installation and total installation costs to double.
This is because a framed “tunnel” or passage must be created in the flat ceiling up to the roof for the skylight to be visible. This tunnel is often angled to ensure that you get the ideal amount of light into the room. This passage must be framed and drywalled 7 to complete the installation and can create much higher installation costs than the same skylight in a vaulted ceiling.
Fixed, manual, and solar skylights have similar installation costs for both ceiling types. Electric ventilated skylights, however, have increased costs for the wiring of the skylight to your electric panel. Expect the labor costs of an electric-powered skylight to be roughly $150 to $250 over the labor costs of other types of installation. Below are the average costs to install a skylight in both vaulted and flat ceilings.
|Ceiling Type||Labor Costs||Total Average Costs|
|Vaulted||$850 - $1,000||$1,000 - $2,500|
|Flat||$1,800 - $2,500||$2,000 - $4,500|
The average cost to install a skylight tube is $300 to $400 in labor, for a total average cost range of $500 to $950. Skylight tubes tend to be faster and easier to install than traditional skylights. They can be installed in flat or vaulted ceilings, but because they do not require reconfiguring the ceiling, they do not take as much time or labor for a flat ceiling installation as a traditional skylight. Once the hole is cut, the tube can be threaded down through a flat ceiling just as easily as a vaulted one. This means that with the addition of a second hole needed in the ceiling and roof, no additional labor is needed.
While it is recommended that skylights not be installed on flat roofs due to the risk of leaks, new technologies have made it easier to install skylights on flat roofs. Most skylights for flat roofs have a slight dome to the surface or are pyramid or triangular in shape. This helps prevent breakage and leaks, while allowing for the light to enter the building from different angles. The skylights are installed in a curb-mount style and can be fixed or open wide to provide rooftop access. They have starting costs similar to most acrylic skylights, with costs ranging from $150 to $1,000 for the materials. The increase in costs for the extra material is necessary for the domes. Installation is nearly identical to a curb-mount install on a pitched roof, so total costs are similar - between $1,300 and $3,000, depending on the model.
It is also possible to have custom skylights designed for flat roofs. This can include larger oval skylights, large pyramids, and other decorative options. These have higher costs, up to $5,000 for the materials. However, they can improve the appearance of the building both inside and out, while also offering maximum light to the interiors.
Skylight replacements cost less than new installations. While you need to remove the old skylight, much of the labor is already done. The hole is cut for the skylight both inside and out. The tunnel that is needed for a flat ceiling has already been constructed. So while you have an added cost of $50 to $200 to remove and dispose of the old skylight, your overall costs for labor will be lower. This makes the total average cost of skylight replacement $800 to $2,200 when installing a new skylight of the same size and shape. When changing the size and shape, you will have additional labor costs. Installation of a replacement can take a few hours to a few days, depending on the installation type and whether it is a direct replacement or you need to change the size, shape, or placement of the skylight.
Skylights can affect your home’s energy efficiency, which should be taken into consideration when purchasing and installing. In the right circumstances, skylights save on energy. They can help to passively heat a home when they are positioned properly to get maximum sun exposure. However, this means that in the hot summer months, they will also contribute to higher indoor temperatures. Adding ventilation to your skylight can help, as well as adding blinds ($200 to $400) or a Low-E coating ($15/sq.ft.). Your contractor should be able to assist you in determining the best angle to position your skylight based on your needs. For example, a northern-facing skylight can let in light without as much direct sunlight and heat. This can be a good option for those who do want or need the additional heat that a skylight can provide.
In addition, you can find skylights that are EnergyStar-rated. This means that they can resist thermal transfer better, helping your home stay more comfortable year round.
Skylight maintenance is often similar to window maintenance, while also involving your roof. Your skylights should be inspected yearly, along with your roof. Ensure that the flashing and shingles 8 around the skylight are in good condition to prevent leaks. Also, make sure that the frame is in good condition. Look for cracks in the material and missing caulk 9 around the edges. Apply new caulk as needed to create a tight seal. Vinyl and metal skylights have little maintenance beyond caulking and keeping the roof in good condition to prevent leaks. Wood frames may need additional maintenance with painting to help them stay looking their best.
If your skylight is leaking, has cracked glass, or other issues, you may need to have it repaired. Repairs may take place on the interior or exterior of the skylight, depending on the problem. The average cost of repair is $300 to $500, with most repairs consisting of patching or replacing the flashing around the exterior edge. However, cracked or warped frames or cracked glass may also be somewhat common issues that may need repair over time. A good rule of thumb is that if the cost of the repair begins to approach the cost of a new skylight, it is time for replacement.
When building a new roof, you may want to consider adding a roof window rather than a skylight. At first glance, roof windows and skylights appear similar, but there are several key differences between them. Both are installed in your roof and can let in fresh air and sunlight. But while many skylights are fixed or open only a few inches, roof windows are fully operational. They open outwards and are usually installed in low-ceilinged areas where you can operate the window manually. Roof windows must be installed in a roof with a 15-degree angle. They are usually built into a new roof rather than added later like a skylight. Because skylights can be curb-mounted, they can be retrofit into a number of different roofs. Skylights can also have more sizes and options than roof windows. Because the way they are installed is similar, they have about the same average cost range installed.
|Project||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Roof Window||$1,300 - $3,000|
|Skylight||$1,300 - $3,000|
One thing you can do to enhance your skylight is to add electric shades controlled with a remote. These shades can be lowered to block light during the hottest parts of the day. They cost about $400.
Many skylights are made with impact-resistant glass or acrylic screens, which are impact-resistant. The cost of having impact glazing is between $150 and $2,500, with the skylight’s shape and style making up the bulk of the cost.
If your skylights are operational, install insect screens to keep pests out. These cost $10 to $50 each, but you may need to have a custom screen made if you have an oddly sized skylight.
Tinting can help prevent some of the glare that comes with an overhead window. The tinting can be applied to an existing skylight to reduce the amount of light and sun that enter. Tinting for skylights costs between $8 and $9 a sq.ft.
Flashing is installed around the skylight on the exterior to help prevent leaks. Over time, your flashing may crack or come loose, requiring replacement. The cost to install flashing is around $15 to $25 a linear foot.
The total cost will depend on the skylight size and type, the ceiling type, and the installation style. The average cost range for installation is $1,300 to $3,000.
Some roofers do install skylights, but not all of them do. Look for roofers, carpenters, and window and door specialists when looking for someone to install your skylight.
Skylights can add value to your home, especially when buyers are interested in this feature. However, it does depend on the housing market at the time when you decide to sell your house.
In terms of adding natural light to a home, skylights make a big difference, especially if they face east or west. Because they’re installed into roofs, skylights allow in more sunlight than regular windows.
No, but some skylights do leak eventually due to age and/or damage. Flashing can prevent skylight leakage. Additionally, some skylights gather condensation that eventually evaporates without any issues. Pay attention to your skylight for signs of leakage as it ages.
They can make a room hot. You can reduce the potential heat by having blinds installed or by installing your skylight in a low-sun area.
This has a wide range of costs, depending on the skylight, shingles, and roof type. Expect to pay between $1,300 to $3,000.